Capitol Police Round Up: Week Ending December 19, 2019

For the week ending December 19, 2019, there were 11 Capitol Police incidents reported; 36 individuals arrested. There were 4 traffic related incidents, 2 drug related arrests, and 2 separate cases of assault of a police officer. 26 individuals were also arrested for disruption in the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, December 13th. 

See how this week compares to the rest of the year below:

Continue reading “Capitol Police Round Up: Week Ending December 19, 2019”

Paid Parental Leave: Coming Soon To A Congressional Office Near You

America is an Outlier on Parental Leave Policies 

America is far behind the rest of the world when it comes to providing employees with paid parental leave. The United States is one of two developed nations that does not provide its workers with any form of paid parental leave, the other being Papua New Guinea. 

Roughly 19 percent of American workers have a paid parental leave policy with their employer. The most common duration for paid leave in the US is 6 weeks, while countries in Europe provide anywhere from 6 months to two years

Continue reading “Paid Parental Leave: Coming Soon To A Congressional Office Near You”

First Branch, Second-Rate Funding

Of the $4.7 trillion proposed federal budget for FY 2020, $1.4 trillion is discretionary spending, that is,optional spending made through appropriations bills. Before Congress can spend that money, it is divided into 12 slices—one for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees. These slices are called 302(b) allocations

Lawmakers are supposed to agree on 302(b) numbers early in the appropriations cycle, but this time around the agreement was (very) delayed. Without finalized topline numbers, lawmakers weren’t able to negotiate over the line items in the spending bills; after all, how could they dole out funds if they didn’t know how much money they were working with in the first place? 

Since Fiscal Year 2020 started on October 1st, lawmakers have pieced together short-term-spending agreements, or continuing resolutions, to keep the government’s lights on. Lawmakers finally agreed on final 302(b) numbers for FY 2020 at the end of November, and earlier this week Appropriators introduced two minibus bills that will keep the government funded for the remainder of FY 2020. 

So, what do the numbers tell us?

Continue reading “First Branch, Second-Rate Funding”

Tools Every Congressional Staffer Should Know About

Time is always tight on the Hill for staffers. They work long hours, holidays, and sometimes even through major life events. Between the countless emails, bill markups and committee meetings, dozens of office and caucus events, constituent and advocacy conferences, and making sure that lawmakers don’t miss votes, it can be hard to make time to get real legislating done in an office.

Staffers often have their own methods for the legislative drafting process. Most staffers learn from more senior staff or are just thrown in the deep end. The legislative process can often take days or even weeks, and there are dozens of factors that take control away from staffers.  

To help them out, we compiled a list of many of the best free tools that congressional staffers can use to create legislation. We cover the phases of the legislative process, from information gathering to legislative drafting, from markup to floor consideration.

Continue reading “Tools Every Congressional Staffer Should Know About”

Forecast for December 16, 2019


It’s your jam. For weeks, we’ve been gearing up for leadership to jam members with tons of major votes as they head out the door. This week we will see at least two appropriations minibuses (likely Tuesday in the House), impeachment (Wednesday in the House), USCMA (i.e. NAFTA v2, likely on Thursday), a long list of suspension bills, and more. Of course, the Senate won’t consider impeachment and USCMA until after the holiday. As a bonus, just about everyone we know on the hill is coming down sick. Happy times. Continue reading “Forecast for December 16, 2019”

Capitol Police Round Up: Week Ending December 12, 2019

For the week ending December 12, 2019, there were 11 Capitol Police incidents reported; 12 individuals arrested. The incidents were primarily traffic related, with five consisting of invalid permits and four DUIs. One protester was arrested for disrupting the impeachment inquiry on Monday, December 9th at 9:23am in 1100 Longworth.

Here’s how this week’s activity compares to the average distribution: 

Continue reading “Capitol Police Round Up: Week Ending December 12, 2019”

The Legislative Branch is More Than Congress

Source: Daniel Schuman via Twitter

Chaplains, doctors, historians and architects are part of the unseen Legislative Branch.  While most know about the House and the Senate, did you know the US Capitol Police takes up more than 10% of the Legislative Branch budget ($456 Million in FY 2019)  and has 2300 employees?

This article starts a series highlighting the various offices within the Legislative Branch and the issues that should be considered – in particular the process to appoint the leaders of these various offices.   Continue reading “The Legislative Branch is More Than Congress”

CBO Changes Make Finding Bill Scores Easy

Capitol West Lawn Bright

Good news for Hill staff and Congressional spending nerds alike: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has made some significant improvements to how it publishes data. 

The agency, which is responsible for advising Congress on the potential economic impact of legislation, announced several transparency-friendly changes on its site last week. Changes include:  Continue reading “CBO Changes Make Finding Bill Scores Easy”

Forecast for December 9, 2019.


It’s going to be a big week on Capitol Hill, so grab a pen and mark your calendars:

Impeachment proceedings continue with House Intelligence and House Judiciary presenting their findings today at 9 in 1100 Longworth. The Judiciary Cmte report on the constitutional grounds for impeachment came out this weekend.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday at 10. He is expected to address his office’s investigation of FISA abuse, the report is expected today and AG Barr already is trying to discredit it.

The 2020 Senate Calendar was releasedwith all of January missing until the impeachment trial is scheduled. The House also changed its schedule and will meet the week of December 16th, most likely to accommodate a House impeachment proceedings and avoid a December 20th funding cutoff.

Watch for the appropriation bills, the articles of impeachment, the NDAA, and who knows what else. Expect things to seemingly accelerate out of control as recess gets closer.

The Senate is bored, at least according to a NYT article that explores whether McConnell has focused the chamber almost entirely on judicial confirmations (170 so far), steering it away from legislation. According to Senate Dems, “in 2019, there were 287 votes in the chamber related to nominations, compared with 98 regarding legislation.”

Paid parental leave for federal employees may be included in the NDAA as part of a deal with Trump to create the spaaaaace fooooorce. It’s unclear whether leave would apply to the leg branch — but it should, including personal & committee offices. House Oversight is discussing paid leave tomorrow at 10. Also, watch to see if Dems cave in the NDAA on ending US support for the Yemen war.

Congress’s science and technology policy capacity (e.g., OTA) was the talk of the town, with a Science Committee hearing this past Wednesday, a Levin Center event on Friday, the release of a NAPA report, and our evaluation of the report. More below.

Good news for @approps & @budget techies: CBO added significant improvements to how it publishes data. Details below. (Kudos CBO!)

GPO Director Hugh Halpern. It’s official, he’s been confirmed. Congratulations, Hugh!

The House’s rules and procedures were the topic of a Fix Congress committee hearing on Wednesday, and the subject of one of our (in)famous letters. More below.

Congressional oversight of the intel community and its role as IC watchdog was the topic of a conversation at CATO’s Surveillance conference on Friday. Video will be here. Does this tie in to FISA? You betcha. Continue reading “Forecast for December 9, 2019.”